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Issue 12, 2012
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Brain slice on a chip: opportunities and challenges of applying microfluidic technology to intact tissues

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Abstract

Isolated brain tissue, especially brain slices, are valuable experimental tools for studying neuronal function at the network, cellular, synaptic, and single channel levels. Neuroscientists have refined the methods for preserving brain slice viability and function and converged on principles that strongly resemble the approach taken by engineers in developing microfluidic devices. With respect to brain slices, microfluidic technology may 1) overcome the traditional limitations of conventional interface and submerged slice chambers and improve oxygen/nutrient penetration into slices, 2) provide better spatiotemporal control over solution flow/drug delivery to specific slice regions, and 3) permit successful integration with modern optical and electrophysiological techniques. In this review, we highlight the unique advantages of microfluidic devices for in vitro brain slice research, describe recent advances in the integration of microfluidic devices with optical and electrophysiological instrumentation, and discuss clinical applications of microfluidic technology as applied to brain slices and other non-neuronal tissues. We hope that this review will serve as an interdisciplinary guide for both neuroscientists studying brain tissue in vitro and engineers as they further develop microfluidic chamber technology for neuroscience research.

Graphical abstract: Brain slice on a chip: opportunities and challenges of applying microfluidic technology to intact tissues

  • This article is part of the themed collection: Focus on USA
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Article information


Submitted
22 Nov 2011
Accepted
26 Mar 2012
First published
30 Mar 2012

Lab Chip, 2012,12, 2103-2117
Article type
Tutorial Review

Brain slice on a chip: opportunities and challenges of applying microfluidic technology to intact tissues

Y. Huang, J. C. Williams and S. M. Johnson, Lab Chip, 2012, 12, 2103
DOI: 10.1039/C2LC21142D

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